What Is a Skilled Nursing Facility? Definition, Types & Helpful Tips

Category: Skilled Nursing

Skilled nurse helping patient with medication
If you need some extra care for yourself or a loved one after an illness or injury, finding the right medical assistance is crucial to successful treatment and the recovery process. With so many choices of where to go and how to get the care you need, it can be challenging to know how to start.

The first step to finding the right care is to understand the differences between the various types of services offered at a skilled nursing facility (SNF), so you can find the best fit for your needs.

Have questions about rehabilitation care for you or a loved one? Contact us to see what our skilled nursing facility offers.

What Is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

The skilled nursing facility definition includes any inpatient facility that provides medical treatment and rehabilitation by trained medical professionals. Skilled nursing services offer care to help patients recover and thrive.

After a qualifying hospital stay, patients have several care options post-discharge. One option is to go to a skilled nursing care facility to recover from a surgery or an illness before transitioning home.

These facilities are not intended for long-term care but rather a temporary living situation until the patient is well enough to go home. At skilled nursing facilities, nurses and doctors provide around-the-clock supervision for a variety of reasons, including:

What Is Skilled Nursing Care?

Skilled nursing care refers to medical care that can only be administered by licensed or registered nurses. Professional nursing care can take place in many locations, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Homes
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Other certified locations

Skilled Nursing Facility vs Nursing Home

Skilled nurse helping male patient with physical therapy to walk

A skilled nursing facility and a nursing home¹ are not the same things. They differ in the type and duration of care they provide.

  • Skilled Nursing Facility – A skilled nursing facility provides temporary residency for people recovering from injury or illness. It offers medical care and rehabilitation with the intention that the patient will go home when deemed appropriate by medical staff.
  • Nursing Home Care – On the other hand, nursing homes are for long-term care that includes 24/7 custodial care for its residents. Many seniors live in nursing homes because they have extensive, ongoing needs and are unable to handle activities of daily living and medical needs on their own

Wondering if a skilled nursing facility is a right fit for you? Contact our caring professionals today for more information.

Skilled Nursing Facility Requirements for Admission

Skilled nursing facilities have specific requirements for admission. Your doctor will recommend professional nursing care if it’s necessary for your situation. Some general requirements for admission may include:

  1. Required services must be provided under the supervision of a physician or licensed professional
  2. Care plans with individual goals and discharge plans
  3. Medical care that is necessary and cannot be provided in lower level care
  4. Services provided are expected to result in measurable improvement within a specific time frame
  5. The patient is medically stable
  6. The resident requires daily therapy or skilled nursing care

Tips for Choosing a Skilled Nursing Facility

If you need assistance for a family member, yourself, or senior care after a hospital stay, it’s important to take some time to think about your needs and where those needs will best be met.

Talking to medical staff and family can help narrow down your options and set you up for success. Here are some details to consider:

  • Location – Is it accessible to your loved ones? Is it a facility your doctor will visit?
  • Quality of care – Choose a facility that you feel comfortable in, with food that meets your dietary preferences and offers adequate access to your medical needs.
  • Ability to care for your specific needs – Does the facility have a track record of caring for conditions similar to your own?
  • Cost – See if your health care insurance or Medicare covers² part or all the cost.

Elderly patient happily walking with a cane with a skilled nurse

Staying at a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation can help speed up recovery by having immediate access to skilled care around the clock. If you are uncomfortable going home after a hospital stay or feel concerned about a loved one heading home, talk to your medical professionals and see if they recommend a skilled nursing facility while you recover.

If you’re looking for compassionate care and a friendly environment, Heaven Health has you covered. Contact us today and see how our skilled staff can help you get the care and recovery you need.


¹Witt, S. (27 April 2021) Nursing Home Vs. Skilled Nursing. SeniorLiving.org. Retrieved 10 February 2022.

²Medicare.gov. Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Care. Retrieved 10 February 2022.